A couple of months ago, I had a meltdown. Ladies, you know what I mean. One of those moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror at home or at the store, or your reflection in a window, and you just cringe. You don’t like what you see. It happens to girls of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Since I knew we were going to be in Cancun on vacation at the beginning of May, I decided it was time to really hunker down and do something about it! We don’t eat unhealthy, but sometimes I let my cravings and portions get the best of me. So here’s what I did to shape up:
- I exercised at least 4 times a week. I alternated from going to the gym to do light & toning weight-work, doing cardio, taking Crossfit tips from Jonathan and doing some high-intensity at home workouts, and doing things I love like swimming and biking with friends, because those count as work outs too (working out doesn’t always have to suck).
- I stopped drinking on weekdays. This makes me sound like an alcoholic, I know. What I mean is, particularly at the end of the school year when stress levels were high, I was having a glass of wine or a beer with dinner almost every night. I didn’t really need that, but I knew I’d still want to have a social cocktail on weekends, so I compromised with drinking something that still had flavor but no calories with dinner (like LaCroix sparkling water).
- I started drinking more water. I would take 2 water bottles with me to work instead of my usual 1 to make sure I was drinking both by the end of the day (it’s too hard to monitor if I refill one or not, so now that I’m more used to having lots of water in my daily life, I could probably drop down to 1, but when I started this thing I wanted to make it as easy as possible so I couldn’t make any excuses!). I also drank a cup or two of tea at night, and kept some of those flavor packets in my purse to make plain old water more enticing (I reallly like the Crystal light lemonade ones).
- Jonathan and I ate low-carbs. At first this one sounded really daunting to me. It’s not like I eat a lot of breads or pastas, but cutting down always sounds scary. We bought low carb, high-fiber wraps for sandwiches instead of bread (again, trying not to stray too much from regular routine to keep it easy for myself to stay on track), and cut out white grain anything at dinners. Through this journey, I discovered I adore spaghetti squash (who needs pasta when this is just like eating al dente angel hair and remains cost-efficient?). I also discovered that it’s a lot easier to eat low carbs and lots of veggies when you make it as convenient as possible. Once or twice a week I would spend half an hour cutting up all of the veggies we needed for our next few dinners we planned to cook. That way, I only dirtied the cutting board once and had bags of veggies on hand for each meal. This part made it a lot easier, especially after coming home from a long day at work and not wanting to have to try too hard to stay on track and eat right.
Here are two of my favorite and super easy low-carb dishes to make…
Spaghetti Squash Bake
You will need:
- one large spaghetti squash
- goat cheese crumbles (as much or as little as you like)
- low-carb tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. oregano (fresh or dry, whatever you have)
- salt and pepper to taste
Boil your spaghetti squash in a pot big enough to cover the squash in water until you can easily poke it with a fork (30 minutes-ish depending on how big your squash is). When it’s done, cut it, de-seed it, and fork out the insides into a bowl. Mix in all of your other ingredients, put it in a casserole dish and bake it (I do mine at 375 for 20 minutes to melt the goat cheese into the squash). Super easy, yummy, and seriously, just like a spaghetti bake!
You will need:
- 3 large chicken breasts, cooked (I bake ours in parchment paper with a little EVOO and lemon juice to keep it light) and sliced thin
- 2 zucchinis, julienned thin
- 2 yellow squashes, julienned thin
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt, pepper, and Lowry’s to taste
- shredded parmesan, to taste
Sautee the onion and spread the pieces onto the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Layer your chicken, zucchini, and squash slices in rows on top of the onion layer until your casserole dish is full. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and Lowry’s as desired on top. If you want, you can put some parmesan cheese on top of it all, too (since this dish is low-carb and low-fat, I don’t feel guilty sprinkling some on). Bake it at 400 for 25-30 minutes, until your cheese is melty and getting a little golden brown. I serve this over a small bed of brown rice.
I’m not claiming to be a low-carb or healthy cooking genius, but if you’re feeling like your body needs a change these are a few easy things to try. Overall I’d say my plan worked, I shed about 5 pounds and felt super toned and confident on the beach in Cancun! That’s all I really wanted, to be happy with my body in a swimsuit or shorts so I’d say mission accomplished!